The Engine House and Bothy at Brandon Park played a key role in the history of the estate, and were in desperate need of repair. As one of the flagship projects of Breaking New Ground, they were restored and connected with a new link building to provide a new space for training, meetings and community use. Work commenced in January 2017, undertaken by Gipping Construction Ltd and the building was officially open on 9th August 2017 by 91 year old Ronald Rule, who was born in a house opposite in 1926 and remembers the buildings in operation. His father was the chauffeur and general mechanic for Brandon Park.
The traditionally constructed, flint and brick buildings were built as the estate expanded. The Engine House was built to surround an existing well and to mechanise the process, pumping water to a tower for the main house and ancillary buildings. Later, a new set-up was installed to produce electricity for the site. A site office was added perpendicular to the Engine House, and is now known as the Bothy. These two building were linked during the restoration by a new build section, housing modern facilities.
The restoration was undertaken in an honest fashion, keeping as much of the original structure of the buildings as possible and not blending the new with the old. Both roofs were removed and large sections of floor replaced after decades of water ingress. The original windows were restored and a lot of work was put in to restore exterior flint work, using expert contractors. A set of lights were installed in the 150ft well, allowing visitors to see the original pumping gear all the way to the bottom. The site is on Forestry Commission land and a 20 year lease has been agreed for Suffolk County Council to manage the buildings as part of Brandon Country Park.
Matthew Hicks, Suffolk County Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Public Protection